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Archive for February, 2012

HOP RIGHT IN!  

Happy Wacky Wednesday!

Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2nd, 1904.  Here are some ‘grown-up’ facts about this amazing children’s author:

-He wrote under the pen names Dr. Seuss, Theo LeSieg, Theophrastus Seuss, and even Rosetta Stone.

-Before publishing 46 children’s books, he was a political

That would be me, Liz, on Wacky Wednesday 2011! It's my favorite teaching day of the year!

cartoonist who was quite controversial.

-Many of his books have incredibly ‘grown-up’ themes such as communism, racism, environmentalism, dictatorship, and industrialization.

-His name is actually NOT pronounced in a way that rhymes with ‘goose.’  The original pronunciation is German and rhymes with ‘voice.’  He accepted the anglicized version that rhymes with ‘goose’, however.

-Dr. Seuss won an Academy Award for his 1947 Documentary Feature, Design for Death.

~Liz Comparetto

BOOKSHELF ESSENTIALS

The Sneetches and Other Stories

By: Dr. Seuss

(ISBN-10: 0394800893)

The Sneetches is a tale of racial equality for children and adults to enjoy every time they read it.  I never get tired of it!  Seuss had an amazing ability to make very ‘adult’ topics child-friendly and relatable.  This is a story, like many of his works, that can be used with a wide range of ages.  5 year olds love the names in the book, and can relate to the concept of ‘popular’ and ‘unpopular.’  Older children, as they develop their social skills, can relate to this story on a deeper level.  It can also be used with high school students who are learning about the Civil Rights Movement in American History.  This is, without a doubt, a book you should have on your home bookshelf!

The Butter Battle Book

By: Dr. Seuss

(ISBN-10: 0394865804)

This book is quite advanced, even for 5 year olds, yet they certainly can grasp the concept of ‘bigger isn’t always better.’  This story is actually about the Nuclear Arms Race and the Cold War, but is told in such a way that even Kindergarten students can appreciate the story.  Just as with The Sneetches, this book targets a very wide range of ages and developmental levels.  As an adult, I love reading these stories to children because I see into it a different way than they do, and the conversation that blossoms from his stories can be incredible.  This is another ‘must-have’ in your home library!

FAMILY FUN

I tried to narrow down the things I wanted to share with you about using Dr. Seuss and his books for family fun, but I just COULDN’T!!  There are too many ways to bring this amazing author and a love for literacy into your home!!  So, instead, I have been pinning Seuss ideas on our Pinterest board like a crazy woman 🙂  Go check it out for some Seuss-ical inspiration!

http://pinterest.com/savannahkidschs/seuss-ical-inspiration/

While you’re at it, follow us on Pinterest.com: SavannahKidsCHS!

 Ask Liz

I have had, literally, hundreds of parents ask me, over the years, which Seuss books are MUST-HAVES for their collection.  For this week’s Ask Liz, I’m going to lay it out my ‘Top 10’ for you.  Most of these are lesser-known gems and  they aren’t in any sort of order.   Enjoy!

For his complete bibliography, check out this link!

-Liz

1: Bartholomew and the Oobleck.  (Check out this previous blog post on how to make oobleck at home without wizards!)

2: The Butter Battle Book

3: Horton Hears A Who!

4: The Lorax (please read it before you see the movie!)

5: The Sneetches and Other Stories

6: Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories

7: And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street (the FIRST Seuss children’s book!)

8: I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!  (A personal favorite!)

9: Wacky Wednesday

10: My Many Colored Days (this was published after he passed away, that’s why the illustrations aren’t his.)

Bubbling Bonuses

Our sister-blog, Diary of a Museum: The Story of Savannah Children’s Museum is a great behind-the-scenes scoop on what we’re doing to get Exploration Station ready for opening day!

We are running a special fundraising campaign for Leap Day!  Take the Leap and donate $29 on the 29th of February!  Head on over to our our fundraising site at http://scm.chsgeorgia.org for more information!  (It’s all tax deductible, by the way!  Bonus!!)

Thank you! Until next week,

~Liz

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Hop Right In!  

Look familiar?

Welcome to the ever-joyous time of year that I like to call ‘YuckyLand’.  In my mind, it’s
a little like ‘CandyLand’, only not as much fun.  August/September and February/March are nightmare times for parents and children because it seems like everyone gets sick.  Germs are running rampant in schools and childcare facilities.  Our little munchkins walk in the doors to our homes carrying millions of these little buddies… this week I’m going to give you some simple ideas for teaching your children about germs in a non-scary, but effective way.

~Liz Comparetto

BOOKSHELF ESSENTIALS

Germs Make Me Sick!

By: Melvin Berger

(ISBN-10: 978-00064451543)

This is a fabulous beginner look at what germs are and what they can do to our bodies.  It is recommended for ages 5 and up, but I have read it to children as young as 3.  Children LOVE learning about yucky stuff… and germs are no exception!  The only problem is that sometimes they get the idea that germs are something to be scared of.  This book introduces viruses and bacteria to children in a humorous and child-friendly way that can be a great ‘jumping off’ point for parent/child discussions.

FAMILY FUN

Glitter and germs have more in common than you might think!

If you asked me 5 years ago how I felt about glitter, I would have cringed.  Most adults share this sentiment… it makes a horrible mess, it sticks to everything, and the washing machine doesn’t get it out of that nice sweater from Aunt Louise.  In high school, I went to a concert and put glitter in my hair.  That was not a good choice.  I had blue sparkles stuck to my scalp for weeks, it itched, and it got all over everything I got near.

I’m still not a huge fan of glitter, but I found the perfect lesson utilizing it!  What’s small, annoying, and all over everything?  Germs!!  While your child isn’t looking, pour some glitter on one of your hands.  Then make a point to shake their hand, hug them, pat them, and touch things around them.  They will, inevitably, ask you why you have sparkly hands.  This is the beginning of a fabulous germ talk:  Look at the glitter on my hands!  The glitter is a little like germs.  They get on everything you touch and they’re hard to get rid of.  Notice how germs spread quickly from one person to another and try washing the glitter off without scrubbing or soaping up.  Some glitter will still remain.  This can be a wonderful activity for parents and children to learn why it is so important to sneeze/cough into the crook of our arm and to wash our hands after we use the bathroom and before we touch food or our faces.  If this idea makes you cringe, you can also do it outside so your house doesn’t sparkle for the next week!

To find more great ideas, follow us on Pinterest.com: SavannahKidsCHS!

 Ask Liz

“Liz, my mother scared the daylights out of my 7 year old son.  She told him that germs are everywhere, you can’t see them, and they are very dangerous.  While I understand what she was trying to accomplish, my son is now washing his hands at least 30 times a day because he’s so afraid the germs will hurt him.  It’s really upsetting to me seeing him so nervous about something so natural.  Any thoughts?”

Jim, Brunswick GA

Microscopic view of The Common Cold (Rhinovirus)

Oh, Jim!  What a predicament you are in!  I’m sure your mother was just trying to protect him and teach him the importance of hygiene… but the poor kid is terrified now!  With very young children, this is a particularly difficult situation because they aren’t able to think abstractly at all.   Your son, however, is able to reason with some assistance from you.  My advice, honestly, is to buy or borrow a microscope.  Your son’s teacher should be able to access one that you can borrow.  7 year-old boys are typically very interested in the things they cannot see.  You can start a discussion with him by reading a story (such as the one I recommended above) that discusses germs in a kid-friendly and humorous way.  This will, at the very least, give him something to help make his fears concrete.  We cannot conquer our fears if they remain abstract.  Your job is to help him discover what he can about germs and to guide him towards discovering that germs are not something to be scared of, rather respected.  You might also explain to him that some germs are good germs and that washing our hands more than necessary can actually strip away those good germs along with the oils that protect our skin from germs entering.  One more thing… bring your mother in on this exploration if you can.  He may not accept your logic or reasoning until his Grandmother accepts it in front of him.  She may also be able to clear up any of his questions or fears by further explaining herself.

The cuddly version of Rhinovirus 🙂

My friend, Kiki, introduced me to the most wonderful stuffed germs… strange sounding, I know.  They’re called “Giant Microbes” and you can find them at www.giantmicrobes.com.  These oddly lovable creatures not only teach children about germs, but they do it in a very non-threatening way.  Imagine a cuddly Salmonella or a sweet Rhinovirus!  These are considered very cool and ‘acceptable’ stuffed animals for school age boys.  Who knows, he may very well conquer his fear and become a brilliant medical professional one day!  All you need to do is nurture and guide his understanding.

I hope that helped, Jim!  Good luck and happy microbe hunting!

-Liz

Bubbling Bonuses

Our sister-blog, Diary of a Museum: The Story of Savannah Children’s Museum is a great behind-the-scenes scoop on what we’re doing to get Exploration Station ready for opening day! If you are interested in financially supporting Phase 2 of Savannah Children’s Museum, log on to our fundraising site at http://scm.chsgeorgia.orgfor more details.

Thank you! Until next week,

~Liz

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Hop Right In!  

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day!  The Comparetto household certainly did… but we’re feeling the effects of this candy-coated holiday.  Not only am I bloated, but I’m also dealing with that post-sugar-crash.  My husband is grumpy and tired, and our (almost) four-year-old is having ‘crazy poops’ as he so eloquently calls them. It’s time to get back on track… and I’m going to share some good ideas and resources with you on FUN and EASY healthy eating for the whole family!

~Liz Comparetto

BOOKSHELF ESSENTIALS

How Are You Peeling?  Foods with Moods

By:  Saxton Freymann

(ISBN-10: 0439598419)

I this book!  Not only because I’m one of those people who will put googly eyes on EVERYTHING, but because it makes healthy foods look really cool to my little guy!

Eggplant penguins, screaming oranges, grumpy tomatoes, and cauliflower sheep… just to name a few of the hilarious pictures in this book.  Who wouldn’t love to dig into a sweet potato seal or a smooching strawberry?  Keep the kitchen fun for the whole family!

The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals

By: Missy Chase Lapine

(ISBN-10: 0762430753)

I’ll admit it… I made all of my son’s baby food until he was about 18 months old.  Yep, I’m THAT mom.  But my little secret is that it’s incredibly easy to do (if you ever want to know how I did it, shoot me an email and I’ll gladly indulge you!)  This book by Missy Lapine is fantastic for those parents of older children that are seriously pressed for time, energy, and the motivation to plan über-healthy meals.  One of my favorite tricks is to put some pureed carrot baby food (yep, I buy it now) into Easy Mac.  You can’t taste it, you can’t see it, but Mama and Daddy know that their baby is getting a full serving of veggies in their dinner.  Another great one is to put some pureed blueberry baby food into chocolate pudding or muffins… same deal: can’t taste it, can’t see it, but it makes it a whole bunch healthier!  Check out her book to find more simple and sneaky tricks from The Sneaky Chef!

Everyone Poops (My Body Science)

By: Taro Gomi

(ISBN-10: 0916291456)

Hehehe!  Yep, I went there!  Since my son is so enraptured with his poop lately, I had to include this for all the parents out there that are (or will) going through the same phase with their child.  Pooping is normal and healthy… it’s alright to talk about!!  And in the case of this book, it’s ok to read about too!  Kids love this book and you’ll find that you probably like it a little too!

FAMILY FUN

Go on, play with your food!  Preparing and eating healthy foods should be FUN, not a chore!  I pinned a fabulous website link that has 13 kid-approved food creations that will certainly whet your whistle.  Go check it out on Pinterest!

http://pinterest.com/pin/156148312050185731/

To find more great ideas, follow us on Pinterest.com: SavannahKidsCHS!

 Ask Liz

“Liz, I’m a first time mother of a 8 month old.  I just opened my child’s diaper and found black stringy things that look like worms all over the place!  WHAT is it?  WHY is it there?”

-Jenny, Savannah

Jenny,

Oh dear!  Yeah, that can be a little unnerving!!  I remember when I discovered the same thing the first time… I immediately got out my laptop and googled ‘black stringies in baby poop.’  I was a little shocked when quite a few hits came up on that search!!

Don’t worry- it’s totally normal!!  Your child ate (non-pureed) bananas today, right?  Yep, I thought so!  Your little one’s digestive track is working overtime to figure out all the new foods they’ve been trying and this is one of the yucky side effects.  Nothing is wrong, no need to panic!  My son had this happen once or twice, then his body got used to it and I never found black stringies in his poop again!

Just a warning, though… my son STILL doesn’t do well digesting mandarin oranges.  He loves them, but I find orange bits in his poop which means they’re not getting digested all the way.  Not a big deal, but we watch how many he eats in a sitting so he doesn’t get an upset tummy.

If your child EVER has difficulty breathing, red lines/spots, or swelling after eating a food… GO TO THE ER IMMEDIATELY!  This is a sign of food allergies that can be extremely dangerous.

Great question!

-Liz

Bubbling Bonuses

Our sister-blog, Diary of a Museum: The Story of Savannah Children’s Museum is a great behind-the-scenes scoop on what we’re doing to get Exploration Station ready for opening day! If you are interested in financially supporting Phase 2 of Savannah Children’s Museum, log on to our fundraising site at http://scm.chsgeorgia.orgfor more details.

Thank you! Until next week,

~Liz

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Love and Oobleck

Hop Right In!  

I seriously cannot believe it’s almost Valentine’s Day!  In honor of all things lovey-dovey, this week’s post will be all about LOVE!

Did you know that Sanskrit has NINETY SIX words for love?  Or that Ancient Persian had EIGHTY?  And English has one.   The English word, ‘love’ is actually derived from the Sanskrit word, ‘lubh,’ which means desire.  We use the word love to describe the emotions we have towards family members, food, cars, smells, friends, art, and shoes.  It’s an adjective, a noun, and a verb.  It can be sincere, insincere, sarcastic, and even an angry word.  Some people cherish the word to the point of not using it, while others use it to the point it becomes meaningless.

Here are a few more interesting tidbits about love:

-Engagement rings are often worn on the forth finger of the left hand because the ancient Greeks thought that finger contained the ‘vein of love’ that runs straight to the heart.

-Though the English language only has 1 word for the feeling, we recognize several ‘types’ of love through different colors of roses.  The classic red rose indicates passion, and white suggests virtue and devotion.  Light pink indicates desire and energy.  Yellow roses can mean friendly love or even jealousy, while a lavender (or thornless) rose can mean love at first sight.

-Savannah-ians will appreciate this last one:  Four-leaf clovers are considered good luck, but they are also part of an Irish love ritual where a woman eats one while thinking of a certain man- and he, supposedly, will fall in love with her.

I hope all of you have a wonderful week.  Don’t forget what the holiday is all about- telling those who mean the most to you how you feel.

BOOKSHELF ESSENTIALS

You Are My I Love You

By: Maryann Cusimano

(ISBN-10: 039923392X)

This is a gorgeous book that warms your heart and speaks to the true meaning of parenthood.  Children and their parents have a special balancing act that they perform every day and this book captures it beautifully.  ‘I am your parent; you are my child.  I am your quiet place; you are my wild.’ Is the opening verse to this smooth, rhythmic, and calming tale.  The illustrations, done by artist Satomi Ichikawa, are full-bleed watercolor that balance out the sugary sweetness of the story very well.

This is a wonderful read-aloud story for any age child because they can relate to the relationship depicted in the book with their own parents, grandparents, or special adults in their lives.  I highly recommend this book at bed time, nap time, or ANY time your child needs to come down from a busy day.

Just a warning: You might get a little teary-eyed while reading this, so have tissues handy!

FAMILY FUN

YOU ROCK, LOVE BUG!

I’m not going to lie- I LOVE ROCKS!  Every day we walk past millions of them and don’t even realize their potential for artistic inspiration.

First, gather enough medium-large rocks from a nature hike with your child… or buy a bag from your local craft store if you’re pressed for time.  I bought a bag of black river rocks from Michael’s.  You’ll also need: a few sheets of red/pink and green paper, tacky craft glue, google eyes, a permanent marker, and a bunch of pipe cleaners (which are now called chenille stems so we aren’t promoting pipe-smoking with our young crafters.)

 

 

First, cut heart-shaped wings from the red or pink paper.  Each wing will look different, and that’s ok!  If you want to get symmetrical, just fold your paper and cut 2 at the same time!

 

 

 

Next, cut 2 chenille stems in half to form the legs and antennae.  Each half will make a pair of legs or antennae.  Remember, insects have SIX legs (not eight- that’s an arachnid!  Great teaching moment for the littlest kids!)

 

 

 

Glue your legs onto the middle of your rock.  Don’t try to pose them yet; the glue needs to dry first.  I tend to get impatient with this and end up re-gluing later!

 

 

 

Next, glue your wings on top of where the legs cross the body.

 

 

 

 

 

Bend the fourth half pipe-cleaner in half and bend the ends to make antennae.  Glue this in front of the wings.

 

 

 

 

Glue a couple of google eyes onto the ‘face’ of your love bug.

 

 

 

 

Cut a piece of green paper into a leaf shape big enough for your love bug to sit on, and glue your love bug to the center.

Let all of that dry for 30 minutes to an hour.

When they’re all dry, have fun bringing them to life by posing the legs however you wish!

 

 

To make Vinnie’s really special, I wrote, ‘YOU ROCK, LOVE BUG! From Vinnie’ on the leaf.

Don’t let my pictures stifle your creativity… let your child’s (and the rock’s) personality shine through on this awesome kid craft!  There’s no wrong way to say ‘YOU ROCK!’ to those special people in your life!

To find out about all our great ideas and what we think is great, follow us on Pinterest.com: SavannahKidsCHS

Ask Liz

“My daughter came home from school asking me about ‘water you can walk on’ made with cornstarch and water.  What is she talking about?”

-Kim, Savannah

Hi, Kim!

OOBLECK!  Your daughter is talking about this fantastic substance called Oobleck.  It got its name from a book by Dr. Seuss called, ‘Bartholomew and the Oobleck’ which is a Caldecott Honor book first published in 1949.

Oobleck is made from cornstarch and water… nothing else.  But it is an amazing way to teach or learn about solids and liquids because it is BOTH at the same time!

Here’s how to make it:  All you need is a box of cornstarch, a cup of water, and a few drops of green food coloring if you wish.  Oobleck, in the book, is green.  There is no ‘magic’ ratio for cornstarch to water, but I’ve found that it’s just about equal.  The trick I learned in making this hundreds of times is to put a cup of water and a few drops of green food coloring into a bowl, and slowly add a cup of cornstarch.  You can always add more of either if necessary… you can’t ruin it.  Simply ‘stir’ the mixture together.  I say ‘stir’ because it’s not that easy to do, surprisingly enough.  Move the spoon slowly or it will get stuck!  I always used my hands for this because it’s super fun and messy!!

Here’s the science behind it:  Most liquids are considered ‘Newtonian’ because they become more viscous as they cool (think of cooking oil…  it flows a lot better when it’s warm, right?)  Oobleck is an example of a ’Non-Newtonian’ liquid because its viscosity increases not with heat, but with compression.  This simply means that it becomes thicker and harder to move when you suddenly compress it or move it quickly.  Soooo… the bottom line is that Oobleck behaves like a liquid when it is not compressed (if you move your hand through it slowly), but it behaves like a solid when you suddenly compress it (punch it, squeeze it etc.)

To WALK on Oobleck, you need a good amount of it.  I have seen it done with those large plastic storage bins and equal amounts cornstarch and water.  If you do this, just make sure to walk quickly (stomp, jump, or any FAST movement) so that you don’t sink.  Remember, it needs to be compressed in order to behave like a solid, but if you stand still it will behave like a liquid!  Pretty awesome, huh?

Have fun!

-Liz

Have a question for Liz? Follow us on Facebook to find out when and how to submit your question!

Bubbling Bonuses

Our sister-blog, Diary of a Museum: The Story of Savannah Children’s Museum is a great behind-the-scenes scoop on what we’re doing to get Exploration Station ready for opening day!

If you are interested in financially supporting Phase 2 of Savannah Children’s Museum, log on to our fundraising site at http://scm.chsgeorgia.org for more details.

Thank you!

Have a loving week,

❤ Liz

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Hop Right In!

Hop Right In!  

Hello everyone!  My name is Liz Comparetto and I’m Director of Children’s Education for Coastal Heritage Society.   For those of you who have been following News from the Pond, there will be some minor format changes including the brand new Ask Liz column!

Thanks for following us on this incredible journey!  I hope you enjoy the information I have to share with you.

~Liz Comparetto

BOOKSHELF ESSENTIALS

Tuesday by David Wiesner

(ISBN-10: 0395551137)

Tuesday is one of my ALL-TIME favorite books for children.  Tuesday, as a day of the week, is often overlooked, forgotten, and mundane; but Tuesday the book is anything but!  Author David Wiesner takes the reader on an imagination free-for-all in this Caldecott Medal Book.  Like many of Wiesner’s books, Tuesday is almost completely wordless, meaning that the gorgeous illustrations tell the story.

I recommend this book for children of all ages!  The best way to ‘read’ this book with your child is simply to discuss the illustrations with them.

Some questions to consider while you’re reading:

  • What is happening?
  • Can you find the _____?
  • Isn’t that silly?
  • Can frogs fly?
  • What would you do if you saw this happening?
  • Do you think this happens when you’re asleep?
  • What would you do if you could fly through the town?
  • Where would you go?

Have your child ‘read’ the story to you by making up the words as they go.  This is a fabulous activity for both pre-readers and fluent readers because it sparks their imagination and puts them in control of the story.

Tuesday is available in most bookstores, online and at your local library.  Let me know if you pick it up and what you think of it!

FAMILY FUN

To stick with the ‘froggy’ theme of this week’s post, I am linking to a page with an instructional video on making origami jumping frogs.  All you need is a square piece of paper and a pen.  The page claims that it takes 30 minutes, but I can attest that it takes only a few… I promise!  This is an adorable frog that you won’t mind sitting on your kitchen table while you eat dinner!

To find out about all our great ideas and what we think is great, follow us on Pinterest.com: SavannahKidsCHS

 Ask Liz

 “My 4 year old son can’t keep 6 and 9 straight.  He keeps reversing them.  Should I take him  for testing?  Could it be dyslexia?”  Kelly, NC

Dear Kelly,

Thanks so much for asking such an important question.  I know that this really concerns a lot of parents.  It is very common for children to reverse alphabet letters and numbers that resemble each other.  You might notice your child also confusing ‘b’ and ‘d’, ‘p’ and ‘q’, and even ‘2’ and ‘5’ sometimes.  Let me assure you that this is completely normal developmentally.  Letters and numbers are nothing more than abstract symbols.  They represent something greater than themselves.  Imagine the Russian alphabet; it would take our adult minds a good amount of time to memorize those symbols and attach any meaning to them.  This is the same with our own letters and numbers for children.  

My advice is to continue exposing your son to these numbers, but take the pressure off of him memorizing them.  Instead, focus on what they mean.  For example, counting 6 cheerios will make more sense to him than finding the number 6 on a piece of paper.  These types of experiences will give meaning to the number, and eventually to the symbol.  

Dyslexia (and Dyscalculia- the mathematical counterpart) is certainly a consideration, however, when a child reaches 7-8 years old.  If your son is continuing to reverse letters and numbers when he reaches 2nd or 3rd grade, you will want to discuss this with his pediatrician and his teacher.  Until then, remember that it is completely normal and incredibly common.  

Have a great day!

-Liz

Have a question for Liz? Follow us on Facebook to find out when and how to submit your question!

Bubbling Bonuses

Our sister-blog, Diary of a Museum: The Story of Savannah Children’s Museum is a great behind-the-scenes scoop on what we’re doing to get Exploration Station ready for opening day!

If you are interested in financially supporting Phase 2 of Savannah Children’s Museum, log on to our fundraising site at http://scm.chsgeorgia.org for more details.

  • Follow us on Facebook:                                                             http://www.facebook.com/SavannahChildrensMuseum
  • Follow us on Twitter: @SavannahKidsCHS
  • Follow us on Pinterest:  http://pinterest.com/savannahkidschs

Thank you!

Until next week,

~Liz

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